Silverstone BEC: HTP Mercedes wins amid safety car debacle
HTP Motorsport's #84 Mercedes-AMG GT3, crewed by Dominik Baumann, Jazeman Jaafar and Maximilian Buhk, emerged victorious in the second Blancpain Endurance race of 2016 at Silverstone.
Jaafar powered past long-time leader #16 Grasser Lamborghini Huracan in the second stint of the race, before Buhk brought it home, holding off Laurens Vanthoor in the #1 Audi WRT.
Poleman Mirko Bortolotti in the #16 Lamborghini led at the start and throughout the entirety of the opening stint, albeit he was hassled by Franck Perera, the Frenchman driving ISR's #74 Pro-Am entry.
However, when Bortolotti handed over the car to Rolf Ineichen, the Lamborghini's main rivals were now the #1 Audi, taken over by Dries Vanthoor after Frederic Vervisch's opening stint, and the #84 HTP Mercedes.
Eventually, Ineichen was reeled in and passed by Dries Vanthoor, with Jaafar in the Mercedes following suit in a couple of corners.
The Malaysian then took advantage of the Audi being baulked behind the lapped #666 Lamborghini to crucially move into the lead.
By the end of the stint, which featured a full-course yellow for debris on track, Jaafar established a five-second lead over Dries Vanthoor, but a quicker stop by the #1 Audi made that gap just two seconds heading into the final hour.
Buhk, taking over from Jaafar, managed to increase his lead early on in the stint, but his efforts came to naught due to a safety car to retrieve the stranded #42 Ferrari 458 Italia of Nyls Stievenart.
And it was that safety car period that served as one of the main talking points of the race as, when race control announced that it was due to come in, the vehicle stayed out on track, to much bemusement.
More bemusement would follow the lap after, when the safety car was announced to be coming in again, its lights going out and Buhk holding up the field as he prepared to floor the throttle.
However, the safety car did not come in, Buhk coming in at a high speed in Turn 1 before the field backed off again.
The race finally restarted properly with 20 minutes left and Buhk duly held off Laurens Vanthoor to claim victory.
Jeroen Bleekemolen brought the #16 Lamborghini home in third, while Philipp Eng finished fourth in the #99 Rowe BMW he shared with Alex Sims and DTM's Maxime Martin, the Austrian having passed HTP's second car of Indy Dontje, Clemens Schmid and Luciano Bacheta when Dontje was held up by traffic.
A last-lap overtake saw Maro Engel, Oliver Morley and Miguel Toril win the Pro-Am class in the #56 Black Falcon Mercedes, while the #488 Rinaldi Ferrari took the AM honours.
Team WRT seeks Endurance Cup podium at Silverstone
Back to the podium as the Team WRT takes 2nd at Silverstone